Truck driver cited, fined for transporting zebra mussels near Winona
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has issued a civil citation and a $500 fine to a construction company truck driver for transporting zebra mussels.
In mid-December, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and contract inspectors found dead zebra mussels on a delivery of temporary sheeting materials to the Winona bridge project and reported the finding to the DNR.
“We take our role seriously, whether it’s constructing the new bridge or protecting the environment, so that’s why we investigated the presence of zebra mussels on the sheeting and researched how the materials were delivered,” said Terry Ward, MnDOT project manager for the Winona bridge.
The sheeting materials were being transported by road to Winona from the Dresbach Interchange bridge project, which is 29 miles south of Winona.
A violation occurred when materials were removed from the Mississippi River and transported over land with attached zebra mussels. It is illegal to transport aquatic invasive species and illegal to attempt to place aquatic invasive species into the water.
Had the materials been moved via the Mississippi River between the two projects, no violation would have occurred.
None of the sheeting was placed in the river at the Winona bridge project, and the zebra mussels were removed as directed by the DNR before related work continued.
The importance of removing all aquatic invasive species, including zebra mussels, is being reinforced with the project contractors. Typically, all contractors that have contracts with MnDOT have been through training and are aware of aquatic invasive species regulations and protocols.
More information about zebra mussels, how to inspect boats and other water-related equipment, and a current list of designated infested waters is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/ais.